The world of work is rapidly changing and organizations constantly grapple with questions such as how to attract and retain skilled employees, design hybrid work arrangements, or promote human-Artificial Intelligence collaboration.
Work, Organizational and Personnel (WOP) Psychologists focus on understanding human behaviour in the workplace and applying these insights to improve the well-being and performance of organizations and their employees.
Our programme will encourage you to seek answers to questions such as: How can we create healthy workplaces where employees thrive, flourish and perform? How can we prevent destructive leadership and create inclusive workplaces where employees feel safe? How can we stimulate innovation? How can people best manage their career and maintain well-being and productivity as they grow older?
Central to our programme is a clear link between theory and practice: you will gain cutting-edge theoretical knowledge as well as the practical skills needed in your future career. Through the unique combination of specialized theoretical and skills-oriented coursework, you will learn how to translate theoretical knowledge into evidence-based practical solutions that can be implemented in the workplace. With the coaching skills course, you have the opportunity to get a coaching certificate , which can be a springboard to a career in coaching, counseling, or personnel development.
As an interim professional, I have the chance to get to know many organisations in a relatively short amount of time and to try out different types of work.
I'm an interim professional in the field of HR at secondment, recruitment, and selection agency Yacht. Even though I haven't studied Human Resources, the Master's in Work, Organization and Personnel Psychology I did, gives you a solid background to start working in this field. They are both concerned with working people, after all.
Interim professional means that I am seconded at an organisation to work there for a certain period of time. Yacht is part of Randstad, the large temping agency. Yacht is their ‘professional’ branch, which is aimed at theoretically trained people. In addition to HR, there are several areas of expertise within Yacht, such as legal, finance, or IT. I’m now almost finished with my fourth assignment in two years time, so I have one assignment per six months on average. It’s great because it gives me the chance to see many different companies and carry out different types of work. It’s also sometimes called ‘legal job hopping’.
I arrived at this job through my Master’s thesis, which was commissioned by the local government. My thesis discussed the development of the labour market in the Northern Netherlands. They were very impressed with my report; the way I presented it to them, and the way in which I made use of statistics. The latter is what got me a job as data expert in their team.
As an interim professional, I have the chance to get to know many organisations in a relatively short amount of time and to try out different types of work. My professional development is therefore quite fast-paced. When you start your first job, you usually have no idea what you want to do and which skills you have. This job gives me the opportunity to discover my professional self and to find out what it is that I enjoy doing.
In the current labour market, it is very important to attract the right people. Few people are the right fit and you want to keep the ones you managed to contract. That is why staff selection matters. In my current role, I'm also active as a selection psychologist, so I use my knowledge about assessments on a daily basis.
I very frequently enter situations where people do things in a certain way because ‘that’s how they’ve always done it’ or because they simply don’t know how to do it and have, through experience, learned to do it the right way without even knowing it. I am able to use the knowledge from the WOP degree programme to improve, or even professionalize, business operations. Also, when a new project is about to start I can be of value, because I can rapidly familiarise myself with a topic and am able to find scientific information about the topic quickly.
At the time, the Master’s in WOP was a logical next step for me after my Bachelor’s in Applied Psychology. I realized that my patience with clients runs out quickly if there is no progress. It suits me better to look at how people who function normally can function even better.
In the future, I hope to hold a managerial position or even be on the board of a great organisation. That would have to be an organisation of which the core values are aligned with my outlook on life. Only then would I be able to give 100%.
Our Master's track prepares students for all domains of Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology.
colleague Susanne Scheibe and I teach the interactive course unit
Aging at Work and Career Development. We hold discussions with
students about what staff members need at different ages and in
different phases of their careers, and how organizations can
support them better within their own frameworks. Now that companies
are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain good
staff members, they need to start thinking about things like talent
development, flexible working, and a good work-life
psychologists play a crucial role in the development and
implementation of these types of initiatives. Bringing the needs of
an organization and those of its staff together demands a lot of
knowledge and creativity.
If you're interested in applying knowledge from several different domains within psychology, the Master’s track in Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology will be right up your street. Our knowledge is based on fundamental aspects of, for example, social, developmental, and personality psychology. My passion is health psychology on the work floor: how do staff members and entrepreneurs stay healthy during their day-to-day life and throughout their careers?
Organizational psychology is a relatively wide field. I therefore advise my students to keep an open mind, to be curious about all course units and new perspectives, but also to plan their studies properly. Do you already know what you would like to specialize in? Or have you not decided yet? In any case, our Master’s track will prepare you for all domains, so that you'll have plenty of career options after graduating.
Choose a placement slightly outside your comfort zone.
considered the Master’s track in Work, Organizational and
Personnel Psychology to be a logical follow-up to my
Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I enjoy working with people,
and I noticed that the business world also appeals to me. Graduates
of this Master’s track can find jobs in any company, from
small NGOs to fancy multinationals.
I did my placement
at Nouryon, previously AkzoNobel, in Amsterdam. I got to carry out
tasks at both junior recruiter level and HR officer level. I spent
three hectic months commuting between my hometown Veendam and
Amsterdam. However, I'm very happy that I stepped out of my comfort
zone and chose such an interesting company. I'm now employed at
Nouryon, and am working on some interesting projects. For example,
I'm analysing our international HR offices to try to answer the
question of how we can make them more efficient.
Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology offers a good balance between practice and research. The programme continuously establishes links with actual practice, even in theoretical course units such as Personnel Selection. In addition, the Master’s track has a strong academic perspective, which both your own personal development and your future employer will benefit from. This is what will distinguish you from HRM students in the workplace.
I have a few pieces of advice for potential students. First of all, make sure you attend the planning meeting at the beginning of the year. It'll give you an idea of what you want to do and when, and what you will need in order to do it. Also choose an interesting placement; this will really help you a lot.
I work for a company that is strongly committed to staff wellbeing.
having completed my Master’s degree in Work, Organizational
and Personnel Psychology
, I found a job as a
People and Culture
Manager at Innatera Nanosystems. This is a young, dynamic company
that is strongly committed to staff wellbeing. They were looking
for an HR business partner, a professional who could function as a
partner both to the management team and to the people on the work
floor. I had already gained work experience during several
placements and as a volunteer coach for students at the UG. My
employer was very enthusiastic about the latter in particular, as
it shows that I really care about people.
I studied Psychology on Mallorca, where I’m originally from, and in Sweden on an Erasmus scholarship. A course unit in Occupational Psychology opened up a whole new world to me. I decided to further specialize in staff wellbeing and leadership, and chose to follow the Master’s track in Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology at the UG because it's highly regarded and taught completely in English. The international environment also appealed to me.
This Master’s track teaches you lots of practical skills, for example in the Coaching course unit. I still benefit greatly from this, not only when coaching staff members, but also when designing projects. In addition, you learn to translate theoretical knowledge into real-life questions, such as how to increase creativity on the work floor or how to motivate staff members. I keep up to date with specialist literature and read a lot about new research. My employer offers me all the space I need to apply my knowledge to support the staff’s wellbeing. And that's what I enjoy doing most.
Daring to put your finger on what's going on is what our profession is all about.
organizational development partner in my own company Dignify, I
help organizations to achieve behavioural change, for example when
implementing self-management in teams. In addition, I'm often
consulted when a team doesn't function well, when things aren't
running smoothly. Whether this is because someone is being bullied
or because one colleague is particularly dominant, it's always a
matter of a lack of psychological safety; in other words, the
feeling that you're allowed to express yourself without being
punished for it. Psychological safety forms the basis for the
ability to learn and develop together.
A variety of aspects of the Master’s track in Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology have reappeared in my work. I still regularly consult the various motivation theories when I'm designing a training course. The practical course unit in Coaching has also helped me a lot, as well as the course unit in Creativity and Innovation in Organizations, which challenges you to think about how to translate theory into practice.
Graduates of the Master’s track in Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology are experts in the field of culture and behavioural change within organizations. They're able to convert the desired changes into concrete behaviour. They can give feedback, ask questions, and motivate people. They recognize team dynamics and can identify the formal and informal leaders. And, above all, they dare to put their finger on what’s going on, impartially and objectively. And that, I think, is what our profession is all about.